General FAQ

If you're looking for an answer to a general question about studying through OUA, try our General FAQ.

Getting started

I'm ready to study, but how do I get started?

Great! We suggest starting slowly—you might only take one subject in your first study term. This way you can get into a proper study routine before you start worrying about multiple due-dates.

You might know that you want to study but aren’t sure which degree to sign up for. Try an OUA Pathway. OUA Pathways let you choose a four-subject introduction so you can get into the swing of studying the field you're interested in. Think of it as a way of trialling online learning, or preparing for a full degree.

Once you complete your Pathway you'll be able to pick from a range of online degrees in your interest area.

To make your life easier, most degrees have recommended study paths that list the subjects you’ll need to complete in order.

How does studying through OUA work

You might find learning through OUA a little different to how you’ve studied in the past. It can take time to develop the skills you need for independent online study.

We connect you with subjects and degrees that are taught by leading Australian universities. You can complete single subjects, or follow a degree structure to work towards a specific qualification. Subjects are offered in several study terms throughout the year, so you can choose to study part-time or full-time, continuously or with breaks.

We help you find the subjects or degree that’s right for you, and we handle your enrolment in uni and some administration. Your uni sends you your study materials and deals with all academic matters. They’re also in charge of your assessment and graduation. If you go on to complete a degree, you’ll graduate from the uni offering your degree, for example, RMIT University or Griffith University.

Find out more about how we work.

Which subjects should I start with?

If you aren’t sure which degree you want to do, OUA Pathways suggests the best subjects to kick off your studies. Each Pathway has four subjects based on your area of interest.

After you’ve finished the four Pathway subjects you get to choose from a range of related degrees. Plus, every subject you complete through OUA Pathways can be credited towards your university study.

OUA Pathways subjects are open for enrolment 24/7, 365 days a year so you can get started when it’s easiest for you.

I'm not sure what to study. Who can help me?

We're here to help you choose! Get in contact with our student advisors. They’re familiar with our whole catalogue and can help you find the right degree for you. They’ll weigh up your study history, career goals and interest areas, then suggest the perfect study path.

If you know the area you want to study but aren’t sure which degree to choose, look at OUA Pathways. They suggest the best way to start your studies, with each Pathway featuring four subjects from your interest area.

Those four subjects can be credited towards the study you take up after you complete your Pathway. You'll be able to choose from a range of degrees in your area of interest.

What’s the difference between enrolling and applying?

The short answer is: you enrol in subjects and apply for a degree.

But let’s break it down.

Enrolling means that you’ve chosen a subject to study, worked out your start date, and paid your fees. One of the best things about Open Universities Australia is that anyone can enrol in university subjects and study online.

Lots of students that enrol in subjects through Open Universities Australia continue their study journey by applying for a degree. It’s a clever move by students without an academic history because it proves they’re capable of uni level study.

When you apply for a degree, you need to show that you meet the entry criteria. Often, if you’ve completed a few subjects already, that’s enough to get you in. When the university accepts your application, you’ll pick your major (or specialisation) and your subjects and get on with your studies. Throughout your degree, you’ll enrol in multiple subjects, choosing your class dates and how you’d like to pay for each subject. After you’ve successfully completed all subjects in the degree, you can graduate with a qualification.

Think of it this way: enrolling in a subject is like a building block towards graduating with a full degree.

How do I enrol?

Unlike when you study through a traditional university, you can enrol you in most of the undergraduate subjects available through our website instantly. Enrol in the subjects you’re interested in, and as soon as your study materials arrive, you can start learning online.

As you start completing your subjects, you’ll eventually need to apply to your uni to formally enter your degree. Enrolling in subjects is a great way of becoming eligible and applying successfully. Check out the Registering in this degree section on the degree page you're interested in for more information.

Postgraduate subjects are different. Most of them are restricted, meaning you’ll have to apply for entry and be accepted before you can start studying online. You’ll find information about the application process on the postgraduate degree page that you’re interested in.

Enrolling is easy. You can enrol online or over the phone with a student advisor.

Does OUA offer short courses?

Studying an undergraduate subject as a single subject takes around 13 weeks to complete—you might consider that a short course, 13 weeks isn't that long after all! We have hundreds to choose from with no entry requirements. Visit each subject’s page for more information and to find out if it’s available as a single subject.

You might also study a Postgraduate Single Subject which is perfect if you’re already degree qualified and looking to up-skill in specific areas quickly.

What are OUA Pathways?

OUA Pathways are for students who know they want to study online but aren't sure where to start.

Each Pathway includes four subjects based on your area of interest. Once you finish your four subjects you should have an idea of which degree in your area of interest is right for you. Plus, you’ll earn credit towards your chosen online degree from the subjects you’ve already completed through your Pathway.

You can enrol for OUA Pathways subjects at any time of the year, so you can get started when you’re ready.

Do I get a student card?

Whilst OUA doesn’t give out student cards, if you’re studying a degree, you can ask your university to give you one.

I haven't studied through OUA for a while. Can I keep working towards my degree?

We offer flexible learning so even if you haven't studied through us for a while, you can likely keep working towards your degree. In general, you have up to 10 years to complete most of undergraduate degrees. When you start your degree with Griffith University it’s a little less, at eight years. If you're studying with the University of Adelaide, the limit is 9 years. If you’re studying with Macquarie University, with the exception of certain accredited degrees, there’s no limit to how long you can take, but please check with your course coordinator to be sure. 

Postgraduate degrees can have different time-frames. If you want to return to study through OUA, the best thing to do is contact a student advisor to chat through your study options.

Studying online

What is online education?

When you take up online learning, you don't attend a bricks and mortar classroom or lecture hall. Your university gives you the study materials and guidance you need to work through your degree on your own terms. You’ll still get to interact with students and tutors, but it’ll be in online discussion forums instead.

You’ll still have set dates for assignments and exams, it’s just that it’s easier for you to structure your study around your timetable.

What are the advantages of online higher education?

You’ll find online higher education is flexible enough to fit around your life. 

Since there are study terms all year-round, you’re able to set your own study pace and fast-track your degree. You can also design a study load that suits you because OUA lets you mix and match the number of subjects you take each study term.

Don’t forget, learning online through us means you can study anytime and anywhere. Your lecture and tutorial materials are available day or night, and you’re free to study from anywhere with internet access.

Is there anybody who can help me if I get stuck?

If you’re having problems enrolling, choosing or withdrawing from subjects, or dealing with any other administrative issues—don’t stress. Get in touch with our student advisors.

Your university tutor can also help with anything related to your subjects or assessment. You’ll find contact details for academic staff with your study materials.

Will all my classes be online?

You'll learn most of your subjects online through your uni's learning management system (LMS).

Some degrees include subjects that you'll need to learn at a location—usually a uni campus. For example, you might need to work on practical skills in a laboratory or kitchen. Don’t worry, unis always clearly explain location based learning requirements on degree and subject pages.

Which institution gives me my qualification?

You’ll get your qualification directly from the university that provides your degree. So, that means that if you complete a Bachelor of Arts with Macquarie University through us, you'll graduate as a Macquarie student.

Why is it better to go through OUA instead of speaking directly to the uni?

With us, you’ll get to learn online with leading Australian universities, all while fitting your study timetable around your life. On top of that, we’ve been giving uni students access to distance education for nearly 20 years making us the leaders in online higher education in Australia.

We make university study open to anyone, anywhere, at any time in their lives—read more at Why us?

How do I meet other OUA students?

Join the lively and supportive OUA community on Facebook. There's also conversations to follow on Twitter at @OpenUnisAu.

During your studies

Can I study through OUA overseas?

Yes! You can take classes from anywhere in the world that has internet. We’ll even sort out your exam venues when you study overseas. Plus, they’re no extra fees for Australians, New Zealanders or permanent visa holders living outside Australia.

If you’re well into studying a degree, there may be opportunities to complete a study term overseas on campus as part your university’s student exchange program.

Can I transfer from Open Universities Australia to an on-campus placement?

Yes, so long as the transfer is approved by the university where you plan to study. You’ll need to apply through their Tertiary Admissions Centre. One thing to consider—if you’ve already completed some of your subjects through OUA it can improve your chances of receiving an offer from your uni of choice. For more tips, check with them to see which subjects are best.

Some postgraduate degrees can be flexible when it comes to transfers. But, if you're an international student, arrangements may vary. If either of these scenarios describe you, check your options with your uni directly.

How long does it take to finish an online degree?

That's up to you! Because we let you choose when to study online, you can actually pick up and pause study when it suits you. Many universities have a set time you need to complete your degree in. For some this is up to 10 years, and for others there is no limit. For all the limits and information about study planning and taking a break, visit our Study planning page.

How many subjects can I study at one time?

We treat one subject per study term as part-time study and two or more subjects as full-time. Choose the load that works best for your study goals and your work and family commitments.

You'll need to commit at least 12 hours of study time per week, so we recommend starting with just one subject in your first study term. Our maximum study load is four subjects in a term. Before you commit to this many subjects, it's a good idea to chat with a student advisor.

Also keep in mind that during Semester 3 your workload doubles because you have less time to complete your study (it’s a short semester). You'll need to commit up to 25 hours a week for each subject you enrol in during Semester 3—making one subject a full-time study load.

How do I update my personal details?

Keep your details up-to-date in your Student Hub by heading to your profile and following the links to make changes.

You’ll see that there some details that cannot be changed online, like those used for admission, enrolment and government reporting purposes. If you want to change your name, citizenship or date of birth, you’ll need to email scanned copies of certain legal documents to us.

If you want further details about this process, see How to change your personal details.

I'm having trouble accessing my Student Hub or my study materials. Who can help me?

You can access all your key information when you set up your Student Hub account during enrolment.

Sign in to your Student Hub and access your online study materials by finding your degree or subjects on your dashboard. For each subject, click MORE, then LOGIN TO LMS to access your university's online portal.

Your login details are sent to you by your uni in the first week of study. If you’ve lost them, don’t panic, there’ll be a way to get them back. Most uni’s websites will detail how to retrieve lost login details, much like our Student Hub sign in page does.

If you're still unsure of how to access your online study information, contact a student advisor.

I think I want to change degrees. Who can help me do this?

Our student advisors can help you with any degree changes.


Get tailored advice when it suits you

A student advisor will call you at your preferred time to answer your questions.
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